A beef over boorish behavior in a Midtown steakhouse ended with a Massachusetts tourist stabbed twice by a diner seated at a nearby table, police said Saturday.
A Manhattan woman was arrested hours after the red-meat ruckus where police said the suspect became outraged Friday night after the 24-year-old victim’s wife made snide remarks about the service and the waitstaff inside Ruth’s Chris Steak House, cops said.
Customer Joan Thompson, 41, intervened in the argument between the wife and a worker before grabbing a steak knife and stabbing the man in the lower back and armpit shortly after 10 p.m. at the restaurant on W. 51st St., police said.
Thompson was charged with felony assault and menacing, police said.
“I’ve never been to Ruth’s,” said Bob Ostrow, who was staying at an adjoining hotel. “But if you’re going to start a ruckus you don’t want to do it at a steakhouse. There’s too many sharp knives!”
Cops spent Friday night searching for surveillance video to help identify the suspect before she was taken into custody. Thompson was sitting near the out-of-town couple when the fracas started, with the situation escalating quickly as the suspect took the side of the employees.
The victim, of Milford, Mass., was rushed to Weill Cornell Medical Center by ambulance.
“When they brought him out he was holding his upper chest,” said a security guard at the neighboring Michelangelo Hotel. “He was stabbed and bleeding, but still talking when they put him into the ambulance.
Thompson and her dinner companion fled the restaurant and headed on foot toward the East Side as witnesses dialed 911. She was arrested a little more than four hours after the stabbing.
A restaurant worker, who declined to give his name, described the incident as “stupid” and “a fight between customers that just got out of control.” A second employee disputed the woman’s complaints about her treatment by the staff.
“That’s not true!” he said. “It’s great service here.”